If generating buzz about a company or a product is a good thing then creating even bigger buzz has to be a very good thing, and a bigger buzz was obvious to all who participated in this year's IR sales kick-off. Participants not only included all those involved in sales in the Americas but those from Europe as well. In the years that have followed my first participation at a similar event in 2009, I have seen the rooms required to house the attendees grow to where this week, with these key regions participating, a local hotel auditorium was required.
But any buzz can be short-lived without content and for the time I was present, there was no shortage of content. Record sales in NonStop market? Check! Record sales across the board? Check! Record revenues, stock price and market capitalization? Check! Even to an observer like me, hardened over the years of participation at such events, the bigger buzz was hard to ignore. As for the overall theme of the kick-off it was New Frontiers, reinforced with a stylized image of the Colorado Rockies. Having broken through so many previous high points, IR could only be facing new frontiers.
Two observations provided by IR CEO, Darc Rasmussen, stood out. I have still to find out if they were original or not and whether they were quotes from other IR publications, but they certainly met the mood of the occasion. When it comes to setting the stage for an even better year to come, it's always good to talk a little philosophy and at this kick-off, such references weren't overdone or belabored but rather, helped all attendees come to terms with what's really important.
"The voice of the customer is the most important influence," said Rasmussen. "It only matters if it makes a difference for our customers!" All too often we overlook and simply take for granted the most important asset of any business and that is, its customers. "Without customers, you have no business," added Rasmussen. The second observation struck a chord and is one I have to believe is well understood across the NonStop community. "And business is engaged in transactions and without transactions our society wouldn't work!"
The role Prognosis plays in monitoring much for the financial world's payments transactions is well known and yet, even as records were smashed, there are still further opportunities for Prognosis in the NonStop marketplace. When it comes to IR plans for Prognosis in 2016, execution of the plan prominently features the importance of partnerships and NonStop will be among the beneficiaries. HP makes it very clear that following the introduction of the NonStop X family of systems and with a new low-entry model shipping shortly (with configurations for the U.S. market dropping below $100,000) growth in systems deployment will move up to as much as 10% per annum and for the vendor community, this is encouraging. And a lot more transactions to monitor, of course!
Furthermore, previous concerns about the lack of promotional product marketing by HP may be a thing of the past as with the coming HP split and the emergence of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) the budget that was previously devoted solely to marketing to consumers will now be directed to the enterprise marketplace – in all likelihood, we will see marketing dollars being spent on promoting customer success stories for NonStop and this will be major factor in driving he growth of NonStop systems.
Perhaps the biggest news from my perspective was the introduction by IR of a partner program – beginning with its Unified Communications and Payments product lines. Will there also be a partner program initiated in support of partners IR want to bring under their stewardship? With the investments IR has made in building their own sales force in support of NonStop this represents a valuable asset for IR and I have to think that at some point, presents the company with an ideal conduit through which other potentially synergistic products beneficial to Prognosis can be sold.
As this kick off was all about new horizons, while nothing specific was said, I have to believe that this too will become a topic IR will begin exploring in earnest shortly – whenever I think of new frontiers images from the TV show, Star Trek, come to mind and when it comes to Star Trek movies, it was the film, Star Trek VI The Undiscovered Country. The reason for this is the message of seeking peace between former enemies, and concludes with images of the value that comes with partnerships.
The customer is indeed the most important influence on any business and the customer support for Prognosis was plentiful in 2015. However, the bigger buzz also comes from the eagerness of the IR team to address even more customer problems and in a world where mobility, security, clouds and big data continue to drive initiatives across enterprises worldwide, there's no lessening of the need for monitoring and left to predict an outcome for 2016 all I can suggest it that yes, transactions are increasing and with their rise, monitoring will be in even greater demand.